August 16, 2011

Seminar ‘Security Implications of Energy and Climate Change Issues’

On 16 August, ICDS hosted a seminar with Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, the UK special envoy on energy and climate change. RAdm Morisetti plays a key role in the UK’s ambition to develop a common understanding of energy security and climate change threats amongst international defence and security communities.

On 16 August, ICDS hosted a seminar with Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, the UK special envoy on energy and climate change. RAdm Morisetti plays a key role in the UK’s ambition to develop a common understanding of energy security and climate change threats amongst international defence and security communities.

16.08.2011
On 16 August, ICDS hosted a seminar with Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, the UK special envoy on energy and climate change. RAdm Morisetti plays a key role in the UK’s ambition to develop a common understanding of energy security and climate change threats amongst international defence and security communities.
During his presentation at ICDS, RAdm Morisetti stressed that the security of energy supply is a top priority for the UK government, which seeks to address it through greater diversification away from carbon-based sources (including increasing the proportion of renewables in the energy portfolio), investments in ‘smart grids’, the security of global supply lines, conflict prevention in the regions which are important sources of energy supply and, most importantly, increasing the efficiency of energy consumption. He noted that the UK government considers free market forces to be insufficient in delivering this and that it seeks to establish a proper framework – parameters, guidelines and incentives – necessary to ensure further progress.
The speaker pointed out that the armed forces should have a special interest in energy supply issues, given that they are often large consumers of energy. According to RAdm Morisetti, new technologies tapping into new sources of energy and diminishing reliance on carbon fuels (e.g. diesel and petrol) produce significant operational and tactical benefits such as reducing exposure of supply lines to hostile attacks, increasing resilience of infrastructure and services at operating bases and enhancing the ability of troops to operate undetected by enemy and with greater flexibility. Last, but not least, gains in energy efficiency are essential in times of budgetary austerity and ever increasing prices of energy resources. RAdm Morisetti advocates the view that energy efficiency and energy independence considerations are factored in at all stages of managing military capabilities – from design and production through training, deployment and support to disposal. This is captured in the concept of ‘sustainable operational capability’. He also suggested that concomitant investments channelled by defence organisations into energy research and technology to achieve sustainable operational capabilities in the future could produce spill-over effects into the civilian sector – in a similar fashion as various other technologies (GPS, mobile phones, etc.) did in the past.
As climate change goes hand in hand with energy security issues, particularly due to over-reliance on carbon-based energy sources, RAdm Morisetti also highlighted how the UK and Estonia could be indirectly affected by it. In a globalised world, food and water scarcity, loss of land or biodiversity and other problems caused by climate change will be major drivers of conflict, migration and instability – regionally and globally. The special envoy emphasised the importance of a well-coordinated, comprehensive, whole-of-government action in addressing both energy security and climate change challenges.
In the discussion, moderated by ICDS researcher Tomas Jermalavičius, RAdm Morisetti also spoke about the role of development aid in increasing resilience and improving the governance of countries most likely to be affected by climate change, the importance of sharing knowledge and ‘best practice’ in new energy technology, providing positive economic incentives for innovation in the energy sector and better understanding behavioural aspects of new energy technology adoption and diffusion.

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